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I’m one of those weirdos who prefers the live action comedy skits of let’s players over their main wheelhouse of gameplay videos. They fully showcase the creator’s style and sense of humor in a more tightly scripted package. One of my favorite let’s players to embrace skits is Game Grumps. Whether they’re trying to sell me a T-shirt or a Loot Crate subscription, they always bring their goofy style to the table. But now the time has come for Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson to take their comedy skits to the next level and turn their goofyness into a big budget, highly scripted comedy show exclusively for YouTube Red.
Good Game is about two slackers who learn about the one million dollar prize for a MOBA game tournament. Lured by the prospect of easy money, they assemble a team of misfits to compete in virtual battle. Along the way, they’ll not only have to “gut gud” at the game but “git gud” at standing each other. The first two episodes were released on August 30, 2017.
This show is very similar to other sports TV shows in its setup and storyline. Now, you can throw a baseball anywhere and hit a TV show about sports, but Good Game freshens up the formula. The eSports angle is the big difference, and the show plays with the perception of eSports as “not being a real sport” to comedic effect. Of course, since this is Game Grumps, there’s plenty of genital-based comedy to go around as well.
The show often makes jokes at the expense of common stereotypes about gamers and games, with the iconic voiceover for the show’s central game Killcore screaming “Triple Homicide” and having professional players GamerTags read “Hot Diarrhea.” However, it also celebrates the medium and what eSports means for the world. Teammate Sam, sick of the gender binaries of traditional sports, goes back into eSports for an even playing field. The show also examines the more negative aspects of gaming. The second episode in particular really goes into the toxic speech of players and how it can affect groups.
Both sides of the eSports coin have been shown, and both have been handled well. This is most likey due to the fact that eSports Host Michele Morrow and YouTube personality Jesse Cox not only have heavy involvement with the show but also perform in it.
All the characters are fun and interesting in their own way and each have different motivations for signing up. Ryland (Hanson) was a talented DOTA player but was disgraced by an embarrassing video of him raging over the game and signs up for a shot at redemption. The boorish and rude Kamal (Rahul Abburi) signs up just for a new computer and a paycheck. All of these different motivations merge and often clash with each other to make for some genuinely good drama.
The actual game playing takes a backseat to the character dynamics, which is a little disappointing. The game tactics could have made for some interesting drama and jokes, just like the very best sports shows and movies. Hopefully they go more into that in the future.
I’m also intrigued by the appearances of Killcore’s creator, Jesse (played of course by Jesse Cox), who has to deal with the ramifications of creating such a popular and moneymaking game. I can’t wait to see where that goes as well.
Good Game so far has me impressed. This was clearly a show made by game players, for game players, which is a rarity in most entertainment media. It also made me care about my YouTube Red subscription. And if you have a subscription, I definitely recommend checking the show out. It’s going in a good direction and I can’t wait to see what happens to eSports People.